Jolly Alienating GOP Leaders in Florida Congressional Campaign

Image: Jolly Alienating GOP Leaders in Florida Congressional Campaign

Friday, 07 Mar 2014 09:19 AM

By Melanie Batley

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David Jolly, the Florida Republican running in Tuesday's special election to replace the late Rep. Bill Young, has ruffled some feathers at the top of the party in the final weeks of his campaign against Democrat Alex Sink.

Sources tell Politico the party is unhappy with the way the 41-year-old has conducted the widely-watched campaign, which is considered a toss-up and therefore an important barometer for the party's standing now and in November.

In one instance, Jolly told the state's top political reporter that he disagreed with a $500,000 ad the party was airing against his opponent, sparking anger in Washington. Sources also complain his political operation has been subpar, with top advisers operating hundreds of miles from the district, according to Politico.

GOP sources have also lamented a poor fundraising operation that needed to be heavily subsidized by funds from dozens of Republican House members and PAC contributions, Roll Call reported. The NRCC has spent nearly $2 million in the race, according to Politico, to try to counter Sink's successful fundraising.

To cap it off, Jolly's appearance on the campaign trail with a girlfriend 14 years his junior has also raised eyebrows. The Tampa Bay Times reported Jolly has been in a relationship with a 27-year-old, who once worked for him at a Washington lobbying firm, since before his divorce was finalized in January.

Both sides have publicly declined to discuss what may be happening behind the scenes.

"We don't discuss internal conversations we have with campaigns," Andrea Bozek, an NRCC spokeswoman told Politico, adding, "local and national Republicans have been working around the clock to elect David Jolly on Tuesday."

Jolly also brushed off mention of any discord.

"We're one team. We're one team. We share a commitment to winning this seat, because we share the same view of government," he said. "Look, campaigns always have story lines to them. The important thing we focus on is what our party stands for, what I stand for, and what Alex stands for."

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